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Cinnabar Vineyards & Winery

Cinnabar Vineyards & Winery In the early 1970s, Tom picked grapes while attending harvest parties at Woodside Vineyards. A victim of the "wine bug," he planted a one-acre mountain vineyard in 1974, and took viticulture and enology courses at the University of California Davis while attending graduate school at Stanford. Tom made wine under a home label until he founded Cinnabar in 1983. "As a hobby, I made wine at my home in Woodside," he recalls. "When interesting research projects dried up at SRI in the early '80s, I decided it was time for a career change. I became a full-time winemaker - a modern-day alchemist - blending science with a touch of nature's magic." In a span of 10 years, his one-time hobby had evolved into a commercial winery. A scientist by trade, Tom's quest for vineyard property mirrored the scientific methodology he employed at SRI - he conducted a thorough search of parcels suitable to growing high quality wine grapes. "I always felt some of California's finest wines came from the Santa Cruz Mountains. I spent a year looking for the perfect site to plant a vineyard. Finally, I spotted our ridge top from a helicopter. It has great climate, mineral-rich soil and the right elevation." Situated on the eastern rim of the Santa Cruz Mountains above the town of Saratoga, the site enjoys a long growing season, often extending through mid-November. Vines are farmed in well-drained red clay-loam soils with a range of exposures and elevations. When it was time to plant the Cinnabar vineyards, Tom sought cuttings with a proven record of yielding exceptional grapes under local growing conditions. "In addition to their 100-year history of producing great wine in the Santa Cruz Mountains," says Tom, "our first planting had bloodlines traceable to France's elite classified growths. The cabernet sauvignon was derived from cuttings taken from Chateau Margaux while the chardonnay descended from Burgundy's Corton-Charlemagne." Twenty-two acres of estate vineyards were planted in the summers of '84 and '85. The winery building and three caves were completed in 1987, the latter providing a year-round temperature-controlled environment (58° F.) for aging Cinnabar wines. Recently, however, all of the pedigree vines have been replaced with certified clones and rootstock that better suit the cool mountain climate.

Cinnabar is located on Congress Springs Road in Saratoga, CA. From Highway 85, turn south onto Saratoga Avenue, then proceed 4 miles through the town of Saratoga to the Cinnabar gate on the left side of Highway 9.

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Address Web Social
23000 Congress Springs Road, Saratoga, CA, US, 95070 Email:
Phone: 408-741-5858 Web:
Fax: 408-741-5860
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  Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine opens with aromas of ripe dark fruit, tar, brush and toasted oak. On the palate, it delivers red and black cherry flavors, spice, cedar, bay leaf and vanilla. Soft tannins, well balanced acidity and a lengthy finish will complement grilled baby back ribs seasoned with olive oil & garlic seasoning; barbecued eggplant brushed with olive oil, balsalmic vinegar and garlic; or hearty Bologonaise lasagne. Aging potential: three to five years
  Central Coast Pinot Noir
This wine boasts jammy red fruit, floral notes and sweet oak up front with black cherry, brown sugar and dark cocoa in the middle. All are well integrated by a structure of balanced acidity and soft tannins from both the fruit and barrel.
Aromas of citrus, pineapple and vanilla lead to tropical fruit flavors with a touch of toasted oak. A creamy texture, seamless balance, and a structure that is crisp and refreshing. Serve with crab cakes, mushroom risotto or pasta with garlic sauté, olive oil and parsley. Silver Medal - Santa Cruz Mountains Commercial Wine Competition
  Late Harvest Chardonnay
Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay grapes were picked at their ultimate ripeness, pressed frozen, stainless tank fermented, then bottled. The result is a delightful dessert wine with aromas of orange peel, spice, and flavors of apricot, orange zest & honey. 25 cases produced.
  Mercury Rising
Fragrances of black fruit, baking spice and sweet oak. Deep blackberry flavors with hints of toasted coconut. Huge mid-mouth with firm structure.
  Paso Robles Merlot
Aromas of dark fruit, sweet toasted oak, crème de cassis and earth easily harmonize with flavors of cherry, blackberry, cocoa and vanilla. The soft texture and fine tannins make this wine approachable while young, but it possesses enough structure to age gracefully for three to five years. An extremely long finish of berries, vanilla and toast will compliment a broad spectrum of foods including wild mushroom crepes, stuffed eggplant with bread crumbs and Gruyere, or herb-crusted, pan-seared swordfish. Gold Medals: Tasters Guild International Wine Judging. Santa Cruz Mountains Commercial Wine Competition.
  Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
Fragrances of citrus, pineapple, butter cream and smoke resonate above flavors of tropical fruit and concentrated apple with hints of mineral and sweet oak. All are enhanced by balanced acidity, full mouth-coating sensations, and a lengthy finish of fruit and toast. Serve with ovenbaked Cornish hens, puréed squash soup or shellfish with cream sauce.
  Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
A huge nose of deep red fruit, smoked bacon, dried brush, leather, loam and black pepper is rivaled by flavors of bright berry, sweet toasted oak and clove. Broad, mouth-coating sensations, full round tannins, and lively acidity. The pleasing long finish of ripe fruit and spice will compliment baked ham, grilled polenta with red sauce, or roasted veggies and Gruyere baked in puffed pastry.


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